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Dean of United States Senate
Patrick Leahy

since 2012
Member ofUnited States Senate
First holderJames Gunn

The Dean of the United States Senate is an informal term for the Senator with the longest continuous service, regardless of party affiliation. This is not an official position within the Senate, although customarily (since 1945) the longest-serving member of the majority party serves as President pro tempore.

The current Dean is Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. He has been in the Senate since 1975, and became Dean in 2012 with the death in office of Daniel Inouye.

List of Deans

Dean Party State Years as Dean First served
James Gunn Anti-Admin,
Georgia 1789–1797 1789
John Langdon Pro-Admin,
New Hampshire
and others
James Gunn Democratic-Republican Georgia 1797–1801
John Langdon Democratic-Republican New Hampshire
Theodore Foster Democratic-Republican Rhode Island 1801–1803 1790
John Brown Democratic-Republican Kentucky 1803–1805 1791
James Hillhouse Federalist Connecticut 1805–1810 1796
Joseph Anderson Democratic-Republican Tennessee 1810–1815 1797
John Gaillard Democratic-Republican South Carolina 1815–1826 1804
Benjamin Ruggles Anti-Jacksonian Ohio 1826–1833 1815
William R. King Democratic Alabama 1833–1844 1819
Thomas Hart Benton Democratic Missouri 1844–1851 1821
Willie Person Mangum Whig North Carolina 1851–1853 1831, 1840
James Pearce Whig Maryland 1853–1862 1843
James A. Bayard Jr. Democratic Delaware 1862–1864 1851
Solomon Foot Republican Vermont
Solomon Foot Republican Vermont 1864–1866
Benjamin F. Wade Republican Ohio 1866–1869
Charles Sumner Republican Massachusetts 1869–1874
Zachariah Chandler Republican Michigan 1874–1875 1857
Henry B. Anthony Republican Rhode Island 1875–1884 1859
George F. Edmunds Republican Vermont 1884–1891 1866
Justin Smith Morrill Republican Vermont 1891–1898 1867
William B. Allison Republican Iowa 1898–1908 1873
Eugene Hale Republican Maine 1908–1911 1881
William P. Frye Republican Maine 1911 1881
Shelby Moore Cullom Republican Illinois 1911–1913 1883
Jacob Harold Gallinger Republican New Hampshire 1913–1918 1891
Henry Cabot Lodge Republican Massachusetts 1918–1924 1893
Francis E. Warren Republican Wyoming 1924–1929 1895
Furnifold McLendel Simmons Democratic North Carolina 1929–1931 1901
Reed Smoot Republican Utah 1931–1933 1903
William Edgar Borah Republican Idaho 1933–1940 1907
Ellison D. Smith Democratic South Carolina 1940–1944 1909
Kenneth McKellar Democratic Tennessee 1944–1953 1917
Walter F. George Democratic Georgia 1953–1957 1922
Carl Hayden Democratic Arizona 1957–1969 1927
Richard Russell Jr. Democratic Georgia 1969–1971 1933
Allen J. Ellender Democratic Louisiana 1971–1972 1937
George D. Aiken Republican Vermont 1972–1975 1941
James Eastland Democratic Mississippi 1975–1977 1941, 1943
John L. McClellan Democratic Arkansas 1943
James Eastland Democratic Mississippi 1977–1978 1941, 1943
Warren G. Magnuson Democratic Washington 1978–1981 1944
John C. Stennis Democratic Mississippi 1981–1989 1947
Strom Thurmond Republican South Carolina 1989–2003 1954, 1956
Robert Byrd Democratic West Virginia 2003–2010 1959
Daniel Inouye Democratic Hawaii 2010–2012 1963
Patrick Leahy Democratic Vermont 2012–present 1975

Party Deans

For additional information, here is a list of most senior Senators by party, listed in reverse chronological order.




National Republican





See also